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Design in Crane Fly Eyes

Fossilized crane fly eyes discovered to be calcified and have melanin

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Cnidarian Venom Evolution: Nothing New Under the Sun

Cnidarians appear to have recruited as toxins the same kinds of proteins recruited by many other venomous animals. However, toxin diversity within groups of organisms does not appear to be related to the alleged evolutionary history of the various groups.

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Different Colors on Different Soils

The specific genes have been identified that cause a lizard to match the black rocks it lives on.

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The Giant Flightless Birds Have Similar Changes in Regulatory Genes Leading to Flightlessness

Is the genetic basis of loss of flight due to mutations in protein-coding genes or in regulatory genes?

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Two Jellyfish Genomes Are as Different as Humans and Sea Urchins

Comparison of genomes of jellyfish and sea anemones highlights the importance of orphan genes in taxonomically close organisms.

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Genetic Similarity Does Not Necessarily Mean Common Inheritance

Different populations of stickleback fish have parallel genetic adaptations to similar local habitats.

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Prolonged Milk Provisioning in a Jumping Spider

A jumping spider has been discovered to produce a kind of milk to nourish its babies, in a manner similar to what mammals do.

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What a Wood Warbler Can Tell us About “Filling the Earth”

Hybridization among wood warblers suggests “filling the earth” through dispersal, speciation and adaptation to local habitats.

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Caenorhabditis elegans as a Model to Understand the Role of Epigenetic Heritage in Microevolution

In recent decades, epigenetics has been shown to be a promising field of research, since it describes changes in inheritance patterns that do not involve DNA modifications and are related to interactions between the organism and the environment. Epigenetic marks are chemical changes that occur in chromosomes and result in the silencing or activation of specific genes in different tissues. It has been…

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Is There Biological Evidence of Life's Recent Creation?

During one of my frequent visits to the office of my high school headmaster, his individual tutelage yielded a life lesson that I’ve never forgotten. His exact words were, “You think you’re right!” Of course I thought I was right, wouldn’t anyone who thought they were wrong change their mind and then immediately think they are right? Now that I’m an adult biologist, I still think that I’m right. Inevitably…

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A Review of the Nature Documentary “The Riot and the Dance”

Most nature documentaries include some language that refers to an underlying naturalistic understanding of origins. However, the recently released nature documentary “The Riot and the Dance” breaks this common pattern in a refreshing way.

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Organisms in Their Niche: Passive Modeling Clay or Problem-Solving Entities?

One person’s cultural background can bias their view about people from other cultures… even before they have ever met. Could people also have a bias about how they think about other creatures? It may even be possible that scientific culture could prejudice the way researchers see creature-environmental relations with the potential to bias whole research programs.

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Microbes, Symbiosis, and the Lesson of Interdependence

A very common reaction to the thought of “microbes” is a compelling desire to slather up in hand sanitizer! However, it is seldom realized that the greatest majority of microorganisms are at the very least not harmful, and at the most necessary for human life! Many aspects of microbial interaction with our environment allow it to be so perfect for humans. Some of these aspects include oxygen generation,…

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Teeming Creatures of the Sea!

The number of different kinds of living organisms is one measure of biological diversity, or what has become known as “biodiversity.” Our world’s oceans have the highest known biodiversity, second only to the number of species found in the tropical rainforest.

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Annotations from the Literature

A collection of short commentaries on scientific papers published in 2015, covering topics such as phylogeny of moths, beak variations in species of Galapagos finches and scrub jays, functional synthetic chromosomes, horizontal gene transfer, Jurassic fossil snakes, stasis, trace fossils of swimming tetrapods, and habitat diversity in the fossil record. Published in Origins, n. 64.

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Red in Tooth and Claw

During 1833, Arthur Henry Hallam died suddenly and unexpectedly. This would be one of those sad but unremarkable facts of history were it not for his close friendship with Alfred Lord Tennyson. Tennyson spent the next 17 years struggling with the death of his friend. During this time, Tennyson composed “In Memoriam,” a long poem that wrestles with the shock, sadness and despair he experienced and his…

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Creation, Flood and Biogeography: Part 3

The third part of this series on biogeography examines how the flood might have influenced the present patterns of distributions of various types of living organisms.

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Creation, Flood and Biogeography: Part 1

Biogeography is the study of the distributions of living organisms. The major goal of biogeography is to explain why different regions of the earth are inhabited by different types of organisms. Biogeographers seek to discover what historical and ecological factors explain why a species lives in one particular area but not in another area.

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Biomimicry: The Search for Brilliant Design

The West Chester University Professor of Biology, Frank E. Fish, was vacationing along New England's coast frequented by magnificent humpbacked whales. While browsing in a gift shop one day he couldn't help but notice a gifted sculptor’s rendition of one of the splendid creatures and commented to the shop owner that the artist had put bumps on the wrong side of the pectoral fin. The bumps should be…

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The Perfect Wing Stroke

What is the utility of a fourth or a fifth of a wing stroke? Could any insect or bird get by with a wing that is a fraction of its normal size? Could it serve its purpose working at a reduced capacity? These questions are a challenge for those who accept Darwinian gradualism and adaptation. According to the Darwinian evolution theory, biological traits arise by small genetic variations steadily modifying…

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